The worm is turning in regards to this nonsense at Al QaQaa. Two new stories via Drudge:
1.) Russians May Have Moved Explosives:
Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein’s weapons and related goods out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 U.S. military operation, The Washington Times has learned.
John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, “almost certainly” removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.
“The Russians brought in, just before the war got started, a whole series of military units,” Mr. Shaw said. “Their main job was to shred all evidence of any of the contractual arrangements they had with the Iraqis. The others were transportation units.”
2.) Iraqis May Be Over-estimating Missing Material:
Iraqi officials may be overstating the amount of explosives reported to have disappeared from a weapons depot, documents obtained by ABC News show.
The Iraqi interim government has told the United States and international weapons inspectors that 377 tons of conventional explosives are missing from the Al-Qaqaa installation, which was supposed to be under U.S. military control.
But International Atomic Energy Agency documents obtained by ABC News and first reported on “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings” indicate the amount of missing explosives may be substantially less than the Iraqis reported.
The information on which the Iraqi Science Ministry based an Oct. 10 memo in which it reported that 377 tons of RDX explosives were missing
As suggested by the following comments of Bill Safire on last night’s Larry King program, the actions of CBS News in this matter again rise to the level of disgust whereby a full scale boycott of them and their major sponsors is in order:
“We now know from CBS’s admission that CBS planned to broadcast this story, which we call in journalism, a keeper, one that’s kept for its greatest impact. They planned to broadcast it next Sunday night, 36 hours before the polls opened. That is known as a roar back. That’s a last-minute, unanswerable story, and it would have been all over the papers Tuesday morning as people went to the polls. Now, I think that’s scandalous.”
The reason the story is important is it highlights the failure of the admistration to plan for the war’s aftermath and the dangers that it has exposed our troops as well as potentially the citizens of the U.S. Please read this story. It’s by a war supporter and Wolfowitz collegue. It puts the issue in the proper context in my opinion. http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/10/27/eyewitness_
Please archive this post. You will want to print it out and eat it in a few days.
The White House is now on its third – third – explanation of where the weapons went. It’s been four days. Ironic that you would mention Rather and Mapes – that’s what they sound like.
“The Russians stole my homework!!”
Ruh roh, Shaggy. There’s video proof that the NY Times is right, and that the Bush administration apologists and Times-bashers are going to eat crow.
But, the Moonie Times quotes a Bush flunky who says it was the Russkies, so let’s just ignore our lying eyes.
John, as has become obvious, the DNC has put the word out to all their friends, whether in the MSM or blogdom, to “flood the zone” on this discredited explosives story. As Terry McAuliffe put it, “It is essential that we keep this story alive.” What is left unsaid, but clearly lies behind their thinking, is that Kerry has risked everything on his over-the-top demagoguing of the story.
As the story has collapsed, it becomes critical that Kerry not be “caught out” once again in a demonstrable illustration of his willingness to do and say anything to achieve his political ends. One can trace this pattern from his initial visibility testifying against his fellow Vietnam veterans on Capital Hill in the early 1970s to his waffeling on votes relative to Iraq, intelligence activities, etc.
Watch the video. I dare you.
So Mumbles, the UN wouldn’t destroy the stuff at our request in 1995, the IAEA found that only 3 tons were there in January, and failed to verify its presence in March.
Why would Kerry be blaming Bush instead of the UN here?
Being a history buff of sorts, I appreciate the Wendall Wilkie quotes: I remember seeing him in newsreel clips and listening to him on the radio during the 40s (yup, I’m an old fart…).
Forgetting about the alleged “looting” of the al QaQaa installation for a minute and looking ahead to Tuesday night, I think back to November of 1960 when Richard Nixon lost Illinois so narrowly that his supporters were begging him to challenge the outcome of the election. History records that he refused on the basis that it might create a constitutional crisis that he wasn’t willing to be a part of.
On that decision alone, Nixon showed his true colors despite his subsequent mistakes that caused his presidency to be aborted.
Somehow, if Kerry loses, I can’t imagine him doing the same thing and conceding gracefully.
Guys: The White House does not engage in detailed war-planning. That’s the DoD’s job – you know, the professional soldiers. They’re the ones who come up with the operational plans.
Good as they are, sometimes plans don’t pan out – you, know “crap happens?”
Oh, wait, I forgot. You’re perfect and everything you do turns out perfectly with never an error, with never an accident. It’s all sunshine and roses all the way for you Peter Perfects
Snipe away, little men, snipe away.
Now Bush’s supporters are denigrating the troops to help Bush avoid accountability.
They will say anything to get elected.
Explaining this event seems to be like explaining how, when, why and by whom a solder was killed. It
The detonation cord is either PETN or RDX.
The drums are classified as 1.1D explosives (mass explosive hazard, secondary blasting agent).
PETN, RDX, and HMX are all 1.1D compounds.
The long and short of it is that Rumsfeld’s plan included no plans to secure facilities like this. The looting began shortly after the troops left.
I see you’ve been leaving this at a number of sites, which leaves me curious:
What is your point?
There are huge ammunition dumps all over Iraq. HMX and RDX (along w/ PETN) are common military explosives—they’d be present in any military supply dump that contained ammo.
The IAEA had, in its wisdom, specifically put aside HMX and RDX that they concluded had been part of Saddam’s WMD program, but it was hardly the ONLY HMX/RDX in the country (Saddam, after all, had his own arms industry and bought lots of munitions).
What do you think is in the 600K tonnes scattered about? What do you think was in the 280K tonnes or so thus far secured and/or destroyed?
More to the point, you assert that the explosives could only have been removed *after* the fall of Iraq. What is the basis of that presumption? Were there inspectors there between the commencement of hostilities and when US troops arrived?
For that matter, and more to the point, what was the time-lag between the last inspection and the *start* of hostilities?
If it were ascertained that the time we spent getting the UN first to approve UNSCR 1441 and then the time trying to persuade the French to allow a new UNSCR was when the explosives were dispersed, would that make you more in favor of avoiding the UN altogether?
Somehow, I think not.
If this was the only ammo site they left unattended, it would be one thing. But they left all kinds of sites–including microbiology and nuclear facilities–unattended.
Rumsfeld himself practically laughed off the risk of looting and called it a transition to democracy and freedom. His vision of combat didn’t allow for sufficient troops to provide security for such sites.
There’s no doubt that the large amount of HE’s in the KSTP footage was there before hostilities broke out. Now the bad guys have it.
Dean, in partial response to your question of Geek, Esq., he/she has apparently been assigned to try to “muddy the waters” at a number of the right of center blogs. The overall objective as stated in the release from the DNC late yesterday was to keep this story alive and put any and all things out there that will add any kind of credibility to Kerry’s charges. This takes the form in many places of tossing out random comments, which may or may not be true, in order to undercut what many in the media are now coming to realize…namely, this whole story is one enormous crock!
Have you watched the tape, Terry?
The comments you leave regarding looting were clearly in response to the brouhaha over the looting of the Baghdad Museum.
Just how many priceless pieces actually disappeared, btw, after all that sturm und drang?
Ah, but the explosives in that video clip were stolen! Really? How does one know that?
Was this a clip of the bunkers that had the IAEA seal? No? Ah, so it was clips of ammo dumps in general? Then that begs the questions: How does one know that those specific explosives were stolen (pedantic point)? More importantly, yes, there were ammo dumps all around. That was part of what made Iraq dangerous! It was part of why there were US troops in places like Saudi Arabia (and thereby alienating Muslims, as bin Laden kindly pointed out)!
But what is your point? That any invasion would likely wind up w/ some dumps in insurgent hands? Guess that gives the lie to Kerry’s claim he was going to topple Saddamm, too.
Or that a different invasion would have prevent ANY dump from winding up in insurgent hands? Your obvious superiority in military planning clearly shows through. But the ability to secure EVERY ammo dump in a country where there were literally dozens (see David Kay’s comments on this), plus nuclear facilities, medical facilities, oil fields, *and* the Baghdad Museum and any other cultural site would involve troops on a scale that would probably dwarf the First Gulf War (where we didn’t try to garrison anywhere near as many facilities). BTW, that’s the choice between a lightning strike and a meat-grinder. Guess which one incurs more casualties, both military and civilian?
Or that you didn’t/shouldn’t need an invasion to topple Saddam? In which case, why wouldn’t he have dispersed the munitions ANYWAY, once his position was threatened?
Or, most likely, we therefore shouldn’t have tried to get rid of Saddam? In which case, objectively, you would prefer that Saddam remain in power?
The Lonewacko Blog
Please archive this post. You will want to print it out and eat it in a few days.
Unfortunately, I have to agree.
Most of the attempts to discredit this story have come from bloggers who do things like try to confuse people with the differences between “munitions” and “explosives.” As if 100,000 pounds of metal has the lethal power of 1 pound of explosives. And, they go even further by uttering the despicable smear that Kerry is criticizing our troops.
All the bloggers on the right who are deliberately attempting to cloud this issue might do well to remember that the election will end soon, but their lack of credibility will live on.
Ah. Somehow, that’s disappointing.
At the end of the day, any military operation involves choices in resource allocation, in which you never have enough. Hence, Moltke’s observation that no plan survives first contact w/ the enemy.
However, rereading this thread, and seeing his throwaway about denigrating the performance of the troops, I sadly must agree w/ you, Terry.
I guess I’m silly for assuming that stuff located at a place that is then subjected to an “orgy of looting” is likely to have been stolen.
Dean: How do you explain the looting of nuclear and microbiological facilities, if we were there to prevent WMD’s from getting in the hands of terrorists?
Bush lies by claiming that Kerry is denigrating the troops, while Giuliani blames the troops to help Bush avoid accountability.
Orwell would be proud of this group.
These explosives are triggers for Nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are WMDs. There are no WMDs. “Bush Lied!” Therefore these explosives also never existed.
So what is El Baradei and Blix said they saw these explosives; they said they saw a lot of things that are not there. The left says that WMDs were never there because we cannot find them. Well we cannot find these either so they never existed, just like the rest of the WMDs.
How can you lefties live with such severe cognitive dissonance? Why doesn’t your head explode?
So, how many items from the Baghdad Museum were ultimately stolen and lost? I remember the breathless reporting on the “orgy of looting” that resulted from the “failure to plan” and the idea that the Oil Ministry was more important than the cultural artifacts of a nation.
Yes, it’s certainly possible to loot a place and leave things behind. Were the looters at this dump (assuming this dump and this bunker was looted) seeking explosives? Or barrels? (At Tuwaitha, in your own examples, they wanted the *barrels*, not the yellowcake.) Were they after re-bar? Or det cord? HOW DO YOU KNOW? In a country that is in disorder, are the vast majority of people looting for HE (which they can’t eat and would need various things to make into workable explosives), ammunition, or valuables?
More to the point: Were these the bunkers that had IAEA seals? No? Then they’re part and parcel of the huge array of bunkers scattered across the country—some got looted, some didn’t. More, based on the figures, didn’t get looted than did.
Remembering, of course, that all this stuff would’ve been in Saddam’s hands, NOT subject to international inspection or knowledge, if we’d not gone in at all.
As for microbio and other facilities, were there screw-ups? Yup. From the planning to the execution. Just as there were screw-ups in Kosovo (bombing civilian convoys, bombing the Chinese embassy, thinking you could be done in a year), in Grenada, in World War II. Wars have screw-ups.
Guess what? Much as young men and women have to pay for those mistakes, they are going to happen no matter what.
The side that wins is the side that screws up LESS, not *doesn’t* screw up. And not going to war, as Kerry seems to suggest he would’ve done, would be the greater screw-up. (He WOULD have gone to war? Then guess what, he’d have screwed up, too. Somewhere somehow, b/c that’s the nature of war.)
And your point for raising the ammo dump in the first place?
Giuliani blamed the troops?
Sorry, I just read the transcript. Giuliani no more blamed the troops than Kerry did—or blamed them as much as Kerry has.
Of course every war has screw-ups.
But this isn’t a case of a surprise. It is a case of the administration overlooking flaws in its plan and approach that were painfully obvious.
Failing to account for an insurgency is not a mere screw-up–it is incompetence of the highest order.
People were crying “Vietnam” and “quagmire” for a year leading into the war, and they get surprised by an insurgency? Oy!
The bottom line is that the admin has no idea–none–what happened to the IAEA-relevant materials here, or when it happened.
Not securing one of the very most important munitions (chemical, nuclear, and conventional) facilities in a country where we were pledging to help rebuild the entire society from the ground up is unforgivable.
The long-standing criticism of this administration was that it simply wasn’t serious about post-war Iraq. This is emblematic of that profound failure of leadership.
If the IAEA-designated materials disappeared AFTER we took the place, then yes, it failed to control for them.
If the IAEA-designated materials disappeared BEFORE we took the place, then your argument is plain wrong.
Unless, of course, you’re saying that any movement on the part of Iraq of such materials SUCH AS WHAT HAPPENED IN FEBRUARY 2003 BEFORE THE INVASION when *32 tonnes* of HMX disappeared under the IAEA’s nose, should have automatically triggered a war? In which case, the war started too late, don’t you think?
As for your KSTP video, it does *not* indicate whether the bunkers shown were the IAEA-designated ones. Indeed, if the shot of the door is correct, it almost certainly WASN’T one.
As for the “most important munitions facilities,” I’d simply ask you to provide a source or two for that conclusion.
I watched the Giuliani interview.
Geek, you do yourself a disservice by passing along the talking points from the fever-swamp moveon.org bloggers like Josh Marshall & atrios.
Disagreement is fine, but you’re passing along out of context and thus implying the dishonest. Very Willis-esque, but unbecoming.
Thank god for the 48 hour rule. I posted this below about, well, 48 hours ago…
“I’ve spent six hours chasing the damn story all over the net and I’ve arrived at two conclusions:
1. This is such a contradictory mess at this point I’m simply throwing the “48 hour” rule on it. Maybe it’ll make some sense then.
2. Since the explosives are not there now, by the WMD rules established by the liberals, they never were there and did not/do not represent a threat, so who cares anyway?
(For the humor impaired, #2 is a joke. Sort of.)
However, if this turns out to be true, it’s a black eye for the Bush administration for sure. But in the larger scheme of a war, not all that big of a deal. How much explosive material would the terrorists have now if Saddam had continued to supply them? How much explosives and armaments did they get for the 11 years the UN dicked around with sanctions and harshly-worded edicts?
This is just more of the usual liberal demand for perfection in all but themselves. Thank god they weren’t around for WW2.”
You all were right. That story did not reveal any IAEA seals.
That would be this story:
Great, we have an atriette who has no life other than spamming right of center blogs by cutting and pasting what they get from atrios, Marshall and Kos.
And it seemed like just yesterday that we were rid of the Jadegolds of the world.
Harry in Atlanta
It just doesn’t matter what the geek or the lone whackjob think, the behavior of CBS, the NYT, the IAEA, and the Kerry campaign of colluding with one another is a loser for Democrats. They have been caught in the proverbial circle jerk and their excuse is, “who are you going to believe us or your lying eyes?”
If Americans buy into this UNNYTCBSKERRY swill then we deserve four years of the narcissitic Jimma Carta.
Everyone watch the video.
They aren’t sure if its the same location.
They show det cord in boxes. Not HMX or RDX.
They show pitiful amounts. Those bunkers would be FULL.
The 101st leaders already debunked this – the explosives in the video are of a lesser order – and I’ll trust miltray on this than reporters…
The explosives were under IAEA seal because they were for use as nuclear initiators. President Clinton and the weapons inspectors requested that those specific explosives be destroyed in 1995. The IAEA blew them off and just tagged the bunkers. When they checked in January, some was gone, claimed to be used for making cement. The IAEA believed them, put their seals back on and left. The March inspection just consisted of checking their tags. These bunkers were accessible through the ventilation, so those tags gave no assurances at all.
1,1,D is a classification of explosives that includes 97 different ones. Note that RDX, forex, doesn’t get that class until it’s diluted 15% with water…. Don’t see no water in that dry white powder…..
Let us know when your boys Josh, Duncan or Kos are able to provide you with a plausible rebuttal to the good Major.
And, no, “harrumph, they’re liars anyway” won’t do.
It’s worth noting that RDX itself has been used in implosion bomb explosive lenses. As in Trinity, and Fat Man. Dunno when they stopped using it, but if you want the nuclear taint highlighted, you’re going to have to do the job thoroughly.